Lamenting Cowboys and Aliens

Posted by David Konow

At first glance, Cowboys and Aliens seemed like one of those projects that couldn’t lose.

The initial concept was created by Malibu Comics, who also gave us Men in Black. It had great a terrific director with Jon Faverau, and the screenwriting team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Alias).

It had Daniel Craig starring with Harrison Ford, who was back doing sci-fi for the first time in God knows how long. The original preview reports and buzz from the fans were also promising as well. 

Well, even with all this going for it, Cowboys and Aliens was one of the biggest disappointments of 2011, and it was definitely a big embarrassment for Universal Studios.

As we reported on TG, the head of Universal, Ron Meyer, even publically badmouthed the movie at the Savanah Film Festival, saying, “Cowboys and Aliens didn’t deserve better. Cowboys and Aliens was a big loss. It misfired. We were wrong.” 

 
Recently, Favreau went over the wreckage of Cowboys and Aliens, and as Blastr reports, the movie wasn’t a complete bomb, but it certainly didn’t live up to expectations either. At the same time, Favreau said, “I feel like it’s the most evolved work I’ve done.”

He added, “I learned the lesson that you can make the best Bacon sundae in the world but if people don’t want to eat that flavor of ice cream…and the name was misleading.” 

 
And indeed, speaking of a bacon sundaes, this could indeed have been a problem with Cowboys and Aliens. Perhaps the audiences couldn’t figure out if it was fish or fowl. 
 
Even with the top team of talent Favreau had working for him, he knew this would be a tough movie to pull off, and after Iron Man he was admittedly “spoiled. [Looking at Iron Man] part of me felt that it was going to bomb and part of me felt like this is going to be the best movie in the world.”
 
It’s too bad that Cowboys and Aliens didn’t totally make it, but it goes to show even with “high concept” movie-making, even a sure fire idea and a great team of talent can misfire. Maybe some day people will develop a taste for bacon sundaes and Cowboys and Aliens will catch on.